Grit Blogs > One Foot in the City

What One Has, One Ought to Use

Farm Trees on Sky

I wrote last week of the demise of the elms at the homestead, but farm jobs aren’t completed or dismissed easily.  That was a good day of work, and by evening the trees were down, but there were still a few details to be dealt with – like about a ton of wood laying on the ground and the “final” trim-outs to be done on the standing elms.

There must be a country law of nature that guarantees that darkness and fatigue will overtake any significant task.  As the sun went down on the piles of elm wood, the crew’s climber sat in the truck exhausted while the other crew members threw the last of the limbs on the trailer to take to the chipper.  A good strong breeze pushed the truck and trailer down the lane, a job well done for one day.

Most of us who have lived the farm life have a real sense of gratitude for what we have, so we believe that what we have, we ought to use.  Often it takes a little extra time to make good use of the by-products of a job, but that’s just the way we do it.

I called a neighbor who burns wood in his shop and offered him any portion of the elm wood he would take.  “In the next few days,” he would come and take a look at it.

The next morning the tree crew called to let me know that “in the next few days” they would be back to pick up any remaining wood and finish the trimming.

I, too, gave the project “a few days” break and by mid-week my neighbor had appeared, took not a little but ALL the wood.  The tree crew had finished their jobs and raked the entire yard.  The seventy-five year-old trees had simply disappeared.

Country jobs take a little longer, and our community of workers needs to occasionally stop work, exchange a few stories and rest when we need to.

Today I met with the crew and selected replacement trees, which took a few hours.  We told stories.  We rested when we needed to and in “a few days,” we’ll plant them.

nebraska dave
3/7/2012 3:04:40 AM

Joan, yes I already see signs of life poking up through the soil. I expect it will be a battle to the brutal end the year to keep the weeds under control.


joan pritchard
3/6/2012 8:42:40 PM

I wish I had your energy! Sounds like you're at the "tame the land" stage. If one turns away for only a year, the native trees (and those introduced) will reclaim the land here. Keeps you on your toes.


nebraska dave
3/6/2012 2:29:56 PM

Joan, farm life has a way just continuing on doesn't it. I too have that instinct to use what I have. The sapping trees I plan on removing from my new property will be used for a rustic fence by the road. I'm not sure how long it will last before decay sets in but even if it's only a couple years, it will be long enough for the Rugosa Rose hedge to begin to grow. The wood from the mulberry tree that I cut down will be used in the firepit to roast those summer smores marshmallows. I have been toying with using some wood for hugelkultur. It's a gardening method that uses wood. A foot deep pit is dug. The pit is lined with chunks of wood and brush. The dirt from the pit is then used to cover up the wood and it's all topped off with a heavy dose of mulch. The slow rotting wood regulates the water so if there's too much it soaks it up and if there's not enough it releases it. The only caveat is that it leaches the nitrogen out of the soil the first year so it has to rest a year before planting. So I'm planning on building a couple beds this year for planting next year just to see how it all works out. It's supposed to produce an awesome bed to grow just about anything and the wood lasts for twenty years or more. It all sounds good but it's a bit strange and foreign to me. It started in Germany so I guess it would be foreign. :0) Have a great tree planting day.